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Netanyahu vows to occupy the West Bank forever

If Israel is not willing to relinquish military control over the West Bank, then it is saying that there can be no two-state solution.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Knesset ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War and the start of settlement in the West Bank, June 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Knesset ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War and the start of settlement in the West Bank, June 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Benjamin Netanyahu last week promised that Israel will never relinquish security control over the West Bank, even as part of a two-state peace deal, which is to say that the Israeli army will occupy the Palestinian territory forever.

“[I]n any agreement, and even without an agreement, we will maintain security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River,” the prime minister said at an event marking 50 years since Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip, putting them under military rule, otherwise known as the occupation.

Let’s break that down: the Israeli prime minister, who regularly blames the Palestinians for the lack of progress toward peace, has openly admitted — again — that he is unwilling to end the occupation. Without ending the occupation there can be no Palestinian sovereignty. Without Palestinian sovereignty there can be no Palestinian state, and no national self-determination.

Without Palestinian national self-determination and statehood, the Palestinian people are left living as subjects under a military regime with no civil rights, no suffrage.

But have no illusions, this is far from the first time that Netanyahu made clear that he has no intention of ever ending the occupation. The world has heard him say it time and again, year after year.

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Yet time and again, the world pretends like the Israeli prime minister is a partner for peace, that if only the Palestinians could be convinced to make one more concession, peace would be within reach.

The truth is that Netanyahu’s grasp on power is predicated on his record of stability, which means maintaining the status quo — occupation and all. For the most part, Israelis are in one of most comfortable positions they’ve ever been in vis-à-vis the Palestinians. There is no urgency to end the occupation. The perceived risk in relinquishing territory and “security control” to the Palestinians far outweighs any perceived benefit.

What Netanyahu said this week, however, is not only that he doesn’t think it wise to take those risks in the foreseeable future. He does not ever intend to ever take the risks necessary to achieve peace.

The question then becomes: will the world continue to ignore the Israeli leadership’s intransigence toward the two-state solution? And if it doesn’t, how will the international community treat an Israeli state that is willing to military occupy another people indefinitely? If 50 years hasn’t been too long, how long is too long?

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    1. Reginald Vernon

      Palestinians have Palestine transJordan. 85%% of the population of Jordan are Palestinian. So why not say that the river Jordan and the Dead Sea are the natural boundary between Palestine and Israel. Bite the bullet. Annexe the occupied territory and offer full citizenship in Israel to all of its residents. If they want to remain Jordanians (they all have Jordanian passports) help them to resettle voluntarily.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      Bibi is right when he does not want to take any risk. That is why we chose him as prime minister. The Arab world is sinking. We must be strong.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Michelson

      Neo Conservative Harperites
      It was NOT a “WAR”! It was a goddamed unprovoked terrorist bombing mission and killing rampage no different than the day the initial Zionist invasion. Any reference that it was a defensive move is just another propaganda lie.

      Because these terrorist cult posses “weapons of mass destruction” and refusevto sign any UN non-proliferation agreements nor allow any UN inspections and hold up the middle to all UN edicts to comply with international agreements, either George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Tony Blair should be imprisoned for war crimes or the terrorist occupiers of Palistines be subjected to what Iraq and Saddam Hussein were.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Telh

      Ridiculous one sided view of the problems.

      Reply to Comment
    5. David Mivasair

      The writer says: Without Palestinian national self-determination and statehood, the Palestinian people are left living as subjects under a military regime with no civil rights, no suffrage.

      An alternative worth considering is living in one state with equal rights for everyone — it’s neither living as subjects to someone else’s rule nor asserting national self-determination in the form of statehood.

      Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        1 state with equal rights for all?
        Yeh, sure…….except you’ve got ISLAM and ARABS.

        Reply to Comment
    6. i_like_ike52

      It should be noted that even “peace plans” promoted by the Israeli Left, i.e. the Labor Party and MERETZ also contain the unenforceable demand that the Palestinian state they dream of will be supposedly “demilitarized”. Now why should the Israeli Left demand that if they think they are going to get peace out of an agreement with the Palestinians? The reason is that they don’t trust them any more than Netanyahu does. Why not? Well, look at how the Palestinians govern themselves, unable to create a democratic unitary government, i.e. without the split between the FATAH/West Bank and HAMAS/Gaza Strip. Add to that the sanguinary conflicts in Israel’s neighbors such as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
      What Netanyahu is saying reflects are pretty wide Israeli consensus, and for good reason.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mark

        Palestinians have always said that there’s no difference between left and right with respect to their independence. I think they are probably right.

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      • Ben

        It’s just an excuse. Your manipulative country created this split all the while complaining about it. The levels of mendacity employed by Israel will someday be documented. Bibi is no more afraid of the Palestinian military than he is of the Navy of Liechtenstein. What he’s truly afraid of is the ‘Front Feiglinale’, the armies of the right wing under General Bennett. And of the liberal press armies with what he perceives as their vendetta against him and Sarah. Because for Netanyahu, like Trump, it all comes back to him. Those are his real security concerns.
        Once the Palestinians sign on to a “demilitarized” state, then goody, Bibi will announce the next demand, control in perpetuity of the Jordan Valley, with Israeli boots on the ground. Naturally. And then something else. And something else. And waiting at the end will be the cherry on top: recognize a “Jewish state.” He’s already been caught on tape bragging about killing Oslo with malice aforethought. The Israelis, however, like their Elor Azaria and his legions of boosters, don’t typically admit to their real aims even when caught red handed on tape. Like the spy caught coming out of the U.S. Vice President’s bathroom air duct. “Yes? Anything else?” You can’t make this stuff up. Surreal.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Firentis

      There are still American troops in Germany and Japan. The American security border in Europe during the Cold War was the Eastern border of West Germany. Yet Germany was a sovereign state and according to sane people not a country under occupation. The British have troops in Brunei and Cyprus. The French have troops in Mali, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Djibouti.

      The premise of the article is that any presence of Israeli troops in the Palestinian State makes Palestinian sovereignty impossible. This is undermined by the facts listed above. You people really need to define what you mean by ‘occupation’ and ‘ending the occupation’ because as I read these articles I honestly have no idea what you are talking about half the time.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Any time I see “occupation” in quotation marks like this I know I’m dealing with a contemptuous denial of plain reality. The American troops who occupied Germany and Japan moved not a single American civilian in to settle those lands, and did not brutalize the occupied people and did not violate the Geneva Conventions with respect to protected persons. And America did not try to annex any part of Germany or Japan. To state the obvious. And the troops still there do not occupy the country, they are there to protect those countries and they do so at the behest and pleasure of those countries, who have full sovereignty. There is no comparison and to make the false comparison you make is both an insult to the United States and just more routine sneakiness and dishonesty, what’s new?

        Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          There was a military occupation. The military occupation ended. The troops didn’t leave. I don’t know which part is difficult for you to grasp.

          Reply to Comment